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Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission announces Water Fowl Seasons and Fishing Proposals at August meeting

Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency - TWRAMorristown, TN – The Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission approved the 2015-16 late waterfowl hunting seasons and was presented the 2016-17 state’s fishing regulations proposals at its August meeting on Friday. In addition, the participants in Tennessee’s 2015 elk hunt were announced.

The actions came at the commission’s August meeting at the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency’s Region IV headquarters in Morristown.

The statewide duck season will be similar to the 2014-15 season. The statewide season opens the weekend after Thanksgiving (November 28th-29th) for two days and resumes December 5th-January 31st, 2016. The Reelfoot Zone season opens November 14th-15th for two days and will resume December 5th-January 31st.

The third year of the three-year experimental sandhill crane season will be held this year. The sandhill season permit handheld drawing will be held October 3rd at the Birchwood Community Center. The sandhill crane season follows the statewide duck season with the exception of closing on January 1st, 2016.

A free permit is now required to participate in the Light Goose Conservation season held from February 14th-March 10th, 2016.  New methods and provisions will be listed on the TWRA website this winter as well as instructions on how to obtain free permits.

Tennessee and other states select their individual waterfowl seasons from within the federal frameworks that establish the earliest beginning and latest ending dates and the maximum season length and bag limits. According to the USFWS’s 2015 Waterfowl Population Status Report, population estimates for most species of ducks remained strong for this breeding season. The USFWS announced earlier that the cost of Federal Duck Stamp will increase from $15.00 to $25.00.

The waterfowl hunting frameworks are set using annual results of cooperative population surveys, banding programs and harvest surveys that produce the largest data set on any wildlife species group in the world. They guide the service’s waterfowl conservation programs and provide hunting opportunities while ensuring the long-term health of waterfowl populations.

The TWRA’s Fisheries Division presented proposed changes in the sport and commercial fishing regulations for 2016-17. Agency recommendations will be distributed for public comments early in the week of August 24th.

The TFWC will vote on the commercial fishing proclamations at its September 17th-18th meeting in Nashville. The sport fishing proclamations for 2016-17 will be discussed and voted on at the October 15th-16th meeting in Chattanooga.

The winners of the drawing for the 2015 Tennessee elk hunt were announced during Thursday’s committee meeting. This included the four main drawing winners, the youth elk hunt tag winner, and the winner of the tag auctioned by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Foundation.

Four of the sportsmen were winners selected in a computer drawing conducted by the TWRA. The four Tennessee residents selected were Trevor Childs (Knoxville), Roy Bivens (Tellico Plains), Andrew Coffey (Crossville), and Forest Landers (Afton). Chuck Yoest of the TWRA Wildlife and Forestry Division made the announcement of this year’s participants.

The fifth permit was donated to a Non-Governmental Organization which was the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Foundation. The permit was auctioned on eBay in July. Nicholas Nelson, from Fayetteville, NC, had the high bid of $11,101 and increase from the 2014 successful bid of $9,788. Fund-raising proceeds raised from the bid are designated for the TWRA Elk Program. Jacob Parker, a 15-year old from Sparta, was selected for the youth hunt.

The 2014 Boating Officer of the Year was introduced to the commission. Announced earlier, TWRA District 41’s Jeff Roberson is the Boating Officer of the Year. Part-time Boating Officer of the Year Allen Herald will be in attendance at a future TFWC meeting to receive his award.

The commission also passed the agency’s 2016-17 budget recommendations.

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